I just posted to Facebook a picture of my family from my wedding 28 years ago. Along with a bunch of thumbs up likes, an unanticipated memory surfaced.
I was in my office, maybe ten years ago, coaching a sales person, a young man who showed promise. On my desk was a small wedding portrait of Scott and me. He pointed to the framed image and said, “Don’t you feel bad?” I replied a bit taken aback, “For what?” And he said hurriedly, “Well, for how you changed.” I knew he meant my weight. I think I brushed it aside to save both our faces with a glib comment about only feeling bad for not keeping humongous sleeves and ruffles on my business suits.
Haha. Yuck yuck.
So a decade later I’m even farther away from the size 6 bride in that picture. Do I feel bad?
I constantly get told I should. Bombarded with imagery on and offline of young, thin women and by endless chatter from family and friends about weight and diets.
Bad. Means I’m not good. Negates everything I’ve accomplished in the almost thirty years since that photo. I’m not worthy even though I sustained a marriage, raised an amazing child who has become an amazing adult, became a respected executive and mentored so many young professionals, kept warm relationships with family, in laws and friends.
I’m still bad. I’ve been bad since I was a nine year old and a clothing shop owner told my mother she needed to do something about my ‘baby fat’. I’ve been bad since a middle school teacher went desk to desk pointing out thin and fat kids. Bad since a high school encounter where a ‘cool’ guy called me lard ass. Bad when a stranger assumed I was pregnant when I wasn’t (an incident that happened a month after I delivered Moo and then multiple times in the years after). I was bad when a work friend I hadn’t seen in years met me for lunch and looked me straight in the face and didn’t recognize the fat me.
And I felt bad that day in 1989, with a tiny waste and defined collarbones, because I wasn’t down another 5, 10 or 20 magical pounds. I felt bad then, I feel bad still.
Here’s the thing. You never unhear you’re bad.